Niko: Scifi Alien Invasion Romance (Hell Squad Book 9)

Hell Squad: Niko

Anna Hackett

 

Niko

Published by Anna Hackett

Copyright 2016 by Anna Hackett

Cover by Melody Simmons of
eBookindiecovers

Edits by
Tanya Saari

ISBN: 978-0-9945572-9-2

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, events or places is coincidental. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form.

 

Table of Contents

What readers are saying about Anna’s Science Fiction Romance

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Preview: Among Galactic Ruins

Also by Anna Hackett

About the Author

 

What readers are saying about Anna’s Science Fiction Romance

At Star’s End – One of Library Journal's Best E-Original Romances for 2014

Return to Dark Earth – One of Library Journal's Best E-Original Books for 2015 and two-time SFR Galaxy Awards winner

The Phoenix Adventures – SFR Galaxy Award Winner for Most Fun New Series and “Why Isn’t This a Movie?” Series

Beneath a Trojan Moon – SFR Galaxy Award Winner and RWAus Ella Award Winner

Hell Squad – Amazon Bestselling Science Fiction Romance Series and SFR Galaxy Award for best Post-Apocalypse for Readers who don’t like Post-Apocalypse

The Anomaly Series – #1 Amazon Action Adventure Romance Bestseller

"Like Indiana Jones meets Star Wars. A treasure hunt with a steamy romance." – SFF Dragon, review of
Among Galactic Ruins

"Strap in, enjoy the heat of romance and the daring of this group of space travellers!" – Di, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer, review of
At Star’s End

“High action and adventure surrounding an impossible treasure hunt kept me reading until late in the night.” – Jen, That’s What I’m Talking About, review of
Beyond Galaxy’s Edge

“Action, danger, aliens, romance – yup, it’s another great book from Anna Hackett!” – Book Gannet Reviews, review of
Hell Squad: Marcus

 

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Chapter One

Though some might protest about being on base patrol, she didn’t mind it. Mackenna Carides lifted her carbine and stepped carefully through the long grass, her gaze scanning ahead for anything out of the ordinary.

She had to admit, though, she still wasn’t used to the lack of trees around their new home. This place was nothing like Blue Mountain Base.

It’d been over a year and a half since aliens had invaded Earth. A year and a half since the dinosaur-like raptors had sent down their ships and troops and decimated the planet. Mac, and her fellow soldiers in the Army of the Coalition of United Countries, had been part of the military response. Her jaw hardened. She’d watched a lot of friends die in the fighting. She’d fought for days on end, pulled survivors out of raptor claws, and finally found a haven in a secret underground military base in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

But now, even that was gone.

Mac ducked through a large gap in a sagging fence. Several weeks ago, the aliens had finally sniffed them out and attacked Blue Mountain Base. In a wild and dangerous move, the human survivors had formed a convoy and made a mad dash out of the mountains.

It had ended here. At a new haven built in an old underground coal mine. The Enclave.

“Man, I am enjoying the food here.”

Mac turned to look at her patrol partner. Camryn McNabb was tall, slim, and gorgeous. Everyone on their squad called her the glamazon. With short, dark hair, dark skin inherited from her African mother, and that long, lean body, Cam knew exactly how to work what she’d been born with. Right now, though, she was covered with black carbon fiber armor, and she carried her carbine in an easy, familiar grip.

“We had good food at Blue Mountain,” Mac said.

“Never said we didn’t,” Cam continued. “But that garden they have here…they grow all sorts of great stuff. Have you seen the raspberries?”

“Yeah.” Mac had stolen a few—big, juicy, and damned delicious. She would never admit it to a soul, but she had a secret addiction to decadent tastes and smells. She hid her vice under her tough reputation. At barely an inch over five feet, her fellow soldiers tended to underestimate her. She made sure they only ever did it once.

She looked over at Cam. In Mac’s entire military career, she’d never been a part of a team as good as this one. All the squads were made up of survivors from every branch of the military and law enforcement. Squad Nine’s leader was Roth Masters—a tough, no-nonsense soldier. Mac considered him a hell of a boss and a friend. Apart from Roth and the big, silent Theron, the rest of the squad was all women. They respected the hell out of each other, had saved each other’s backs too many times to count. They worked side-by-side with the other squads, including the infamous Hell Squad, and every day, they did their bit to protect their group of human survivors and fight back against the aliens.

She scanned the landscape—rolling hills covered with green grass and stands of trees. The Enclave had been built by the former President of the United Coalition. Instead of fighting for his people, he’d made a deal with the Gizzida aliens, and built this small, cozy Enclave. He’d then selected a small group of people he’d determined deserved to be saved.

Bastard
. President Howell was dead now, and Mac couldn’t bring herself to feel very sorry about it. Now, the Enclave was filled to the brim with its original survivors, and with those who’d escaped the onslaught of the Blue Mountain Base attack. It had only been two weeks, and they were all still finding a way to live together. She figured it was going to take longer until they all trusted each other. Still, Cam was right—the food was damn good.

Mac’s earpiece crackled to life. “Mac? Cam? You two there?”

It was the smooth, calm voice of Arden, their squad’s comms officer. She was beneath their feet inside the Enclave, in the secure comms control room.

“Receiving,” Mac answered.

“I have Lia from the drone team on the line. She wants to talk to you. Seems that she’s having some issues with one of her drones.”

Mac touched her ear. “Put her through.”

A second later another voice came on the line. “Hi, Mackenna. This is Lia.”

“What can we do for you, Lia?”

“We have a drone out to the south of the Enclave on standard reconnaissance. It seems to be jammed, and its feed isn’t getting back to us. None of the other drones are picking up any alien activity. Can you check it out and see what’s going on?”

Mac scanned the sky to the south. She didn’t see anything there, but the drones—tiny quadcopters that could fit in the palm of her hand—were hard to spot. Plus, they all had small illusion systems that rendered them near-invisible to alien sensors, and blurred them on visual. The only thing Mac could see in the blue sky was a bird soaring high overhead.

“No problem. We’ll head that way and take a look.”

“Thanks,” Lia answered. “Let me know if you find anything. I’m guessing it’s just a malfunction, but I want to make sure.”

Mac nodded her head toward the south. “We need to go and check on a drone.”

The two of them headed that way, picking their way through the long grass. All around the Enclave, the landscape appeared undisturbed and overgrown. The security team worked hard to ensure there were no tracks or obvious signs of occupation. Mac knew the place also had state-of-the-art defenses, and they could completely lock down in the event of an attack.

But the key thing helping to keep them safe was the small fleet of drones. They were vitally important for providing intel for the squads. When the aliens had first attacked, they’d destroyed all the planet’s satellite systems. Luckily, Noah Kim, the tech genius at Blue Mountain Base, had repurposed drones so that an expert team could fly them and provide information on the aliens’ whereabouts. That information was fed to all the squads and without it, they were blind.

It was a brilliant, sunny day, and, for a second, Mac could almost imagine that the invasion had never happened. Right here, at this spot, all she saw were beautiful hills, blue sky, and bright sunshine. Birds were chirping, and from here there was no sign of the destruction the aliens had wreaked. She knew just to the north lay the remains of Sydney, the former capital of the Coalition. Nothing was left of the once-thriving city, other than rubble and dust.

Mac released a long breath. Damn, she was still feeling a little raw and twitchy after their wild race out of the mountains. The aliens had come close to capturing them numerous times. People had died. She closed her eyes for a second. It still hadn’t fully sunk in that they were somewhere safe.

“I do miss the old base,” Cam said, “but man, I
love
the swimming pool.”

Mac smiled. The Enclave’s indoor, heated swimming pool was proving very popular. Personally, Mac liked the Garden. It was accessed through a long tunnel, and sat up on top of an escarpment. It was built inside a bowl of rock and open to the sky—but with a retractable roof, in case of danger. It got lots of natural sunlight. Something she’d missed in the rabbit warren of Blue Mountain Base. And she was pretty darn happy with the fancy, well-equipped gym here, as well.

But, as she spotted an abandoned processing plant from the old mine, the metal rusting and sagging, her hands clenched on her carbine. She knew she couldn’t fully relax, couldn’t let the luxurious surrounds of the Enclave let her go soft. They were at war, in a fight for their very existence. She needed to be in peak physical condition and ready for anything.

It was one of the things her father had taught her.
No tears, little girl. Toughen up and face that problem head-on.
She thought of her father and her two brothers. As far as she knew, they were dead. Her brothers had been somewhere in Texas when the first wave of the invasion had hit. Her father had been on an oil rig off the north of Scotland. Her chest went tight. She’d never heard from them, and the one message she’d ever gotten through to one of the survivor outposts in Texas hadn’t received a response.

Mac’s mother had died when she was young and her father had dragged Mac and her brothers around the world as he’d worked on different oil rigs. There had been no chance to collect precious things, or get used to a certain house or place. She’d learned never to depend on anything, because it could be gone in a blink.

“I don’t see any drones,” Cam said. “No aliens, either.”

Mac didn’t see anything out of the norm, either. She looked around again, and once again watched the beautiful bird—some sort of hawk or eagle—dipping and flowing overhead. She touched her ear. “Lia? No sign of your drone, and no sign of any alien activity that might be jamming it.”

“Thanks, Mac. The intermittent signal is coming from about ten meters west of your current location.”

“On it.” Mac wandered toward a lone tree in that direction.

Then she spotted the drone snagged in the branches.

“Looks like some drone pilot is going to get a ribbing from their colleagues,” Cam murmured with a smile.

Mac smiled and touched her earpiece. “Lia, we found it. Hung up in a tree.”

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